Just a heads up, I talk about some darker stuff than usual in this review, including incarceration/institutionalization, trafficking and homelessness, all with regards to queer and trans youth.
Last week Almost a damn month ago I talked about “fantasy soup”, a grab-bag of a genre that combines various genre tropes and wild imagination to create something truly weird. I also talked about how that genre as we knew it in the Webcomic Wild West of 1999-2005 has all but died out, a product of an environment, ideally suited to it, that has simply ceased to be.
Nerds are frequently bad at naming things. Most of you probably know what “jumping the shark” means – the point at which an ongoing story starts to go downhill. If you haven’t heard of its counterpart “growing the beard” you’d be forgiven, because it’s honestly kind of a terrible name. Like so many fandom terms, it’s a reference to Star Trek; fans of TNG noticed an upturn in the quality of episodes around the time that Riker grew a beard in the second season. In addition to “growing the beard” bringing to mind a bizarre visual out of context, the beard in question isn’t even what caused the show to get better, making the entire thing kind of inexplicable (cue hatemail from beard enthusiasts). Maybe there are better options for how to refer to this phenomenon.
There’s a special feeling that only we queers know. You know when you’re reading a story, and there’s a hint of two characters maybe being gay together ? You’re like “That would rule, but it won’t ever happen. I’m just seeing what I want to see,” but you keep reading because, I dunno, maybe the rest of the story is interesting enough to enjoy on its own merits or something weird like that.